'Evertonian' Ancelotti Delivers Fitness Update On Trio

Carlo Ancelotti will be able to call on the attacking trio of Richarlison, Alex Iwobi and Gylfi Sigurdsson for Everton’s Premier League clash with Watford on Saturday.

The Blues’ visit to Vicarage Road will halt an 11-day gap between fixtures – Everton drew 2-2 with Newcastle United last week – and manager Ancelotti has used the fallow period to focus on the urgency of his side's offensive play.

For the first time since his appointment last month, Ancelotti has been able to work with a full complement of players, save for midfielder Jean-Philippe Gbamin, and this week reintroduced the “fantastic” Andre Gomes for elements of training sessions.


Everton have claimed 15 points from their past nine league matches and under Ancelotti – who declared he already counts himself as an Evertonian – have won three and drawn two of six top-flight games.

Brazilian Richarlison has sat out the past two fixtures, against West Ham United and Newcastle United, but is fit again following a knee injury. A groin issue forced Sigurdsson to the sidelines for the same period but the Icelander is in contention to feature this weekend, along with forward Iwobi, who hurt a hamstring against former club Arsenal last month.

“Richarlison is okay and has trained all week,” Ancelotti told evertontv.

“This week we had only Gbamin out, the others are all fit and in good condition.

“Richarlison and Iwobi are available [to face Watford].

“Gylfi Sigurdsson is available.

“So it will be difficult to choose my line-up.

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Portuguese midfielder rejoins teammates at USM Finch Farm.

“We worked well this week… some sessions with intensity, some tactical sessions and tactical drills.

“The game against Newcastle was good in different aspects; defensively and offensively.

“Also, in my opinion, we were more vertical in our play, [but] sometimes we have to use our possession to try to find the right space to attack, not to just keep possession.

“The target with possession is to find the right solution to attack properly and well.

“In that respect, we can improve.

“Sometimes when we have the possibility to pass forward, we are used to passing back.

“This is not good and this is the improvement we are working on.

“We spent most of the time working offensively.

“Defensively, the team is doing well, we are trying to press forward more.

“We are trying to improve and play better, because the key is to play better.”

Ancelotti was able to work with midfielder Gomes for the first time this week when the Portuguese took another significant step in his recovery from a serious ankle injury.

Gomes, who completed a permanent transfer to Everton last summer after spending 2018/19 on loan at Goodison Park from Barcelona, sustained a fracture dislocation of his right ankle in a game against Tottenham Hotspur on 3 November.

He returned to the Club’s USM Finch Farm training headquarters for the latest stage of his rehabilitation earlier this month and only 86 days after being hurt joined his teammates for parts of training on Tuesday.

“He is a humble guy and he really likes to play,” said Ancelotti.

“For a player who is out for three months like him it is important to try to start with the team.

“He was really happy this week.

“In training, he is confident, he has no problem, he tries to do everything.

“I think he can recover soon.

“It is really important [for Gomes to be progressing in his rehabilitation] because first of all he is a player with fantastic quality.

“He has experience and has played for fantastic teams like Valencia and Barcelona.

“He can give us his experience and quality."

Ancelotti struck up an instant rapport with Evertonians after signing a four-and-a-half year contract on his arrival six weeks ago.

And the three-times Champions League winning former boss of AC Milan, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich insists he has been bitten by the Everton bug.

“I am an Evertonian,” said Ancelotti.

“The first day I signed I was an Evertonian.

“I love the feeling the supporters have for the team.

“They are really passionate about the team.

“You can see this in the stadium and city.

“There are lots of Evertonians here and the atmosphere in the city is really nice for me.

“It is a strength for us to have this kind of connection with the supporters.”